Monthly Archives: November 2011

The Do’s and Don’ts of Cross-Posting

Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, industry forums… the list goes on. If you’re active on many social media networks, it can be quite a challenge to keep up. You want to share your latest blog posts and newest promotions everywhere! And with so much social integration these days, it is easy to set up cross-posts – to send one message to all of your networks with the click of a button. But perhaps it is time to rethink this strategy. Here are a few do’s and don’t for cross-posting:

1. Do share your news on all networks where the message is pertinent to your audience. Don’t share your news everywhere just because it’s news. (Example – Your Twitter followers may click/retweet discounts or special deals more often than your LinkedIn connections. Your LinkedIn connections may provide more in-depth commentary on high-level company news than your Facebook fans.)

2. Do promote topical blog posts on multiple networks. Do not always post it the same way on every network. (Example – On Google+, link to your blog post and provide additional information or thoughts on the topic. On Quora, post the link and ask users a specific question about something you wrote. On Twitter, post a great headline with the link and ask followers to share.)

3. Do know the differences in your audiences. Do not assume that all your fans/followers/friends are the same. (Example – I know that I have more male followers on Twitter than on Facebook. I also know that my Twitter followers tend to be slightly older than my Facebook fans. Knowing this not only helps determine what I will share, but also [subconsciously?] affects my tone/style.)

4. Do know the similarities in your audiences. Do not drive your loyal fans away. (Example – Many of your loyal Facebook fans may have followed you over to your new Google+ brand page. If these fans are active on both networks, you don’t want to post the same exact messages on both networks day after day. Share different things, share things in different ways – give your loyal fans a reason to follow you on both/all networks.)

5. Do embrace all of your network conversations. Do not be afraid to promote another network. (Example – You have a great conversation going in an industry-specific forum or blog forum. Let your followers/friends/fans on other sites get it on it. Send out a “Great debate about XYZ going on over at ABC.com. Check it out and post your thoughts!” tweet. You’ll not only be cross-promoting yourself, you may also be introducing followers to new social networks.)

6. Do know your network. Don’t confuse your fans with non-network speak. (Example – Many of my Facebook fans are new to social media marketing, and have yet to tackle Twitter. Many don’t really understand hashtags or Twitter-speak, and my statistics tell me that my fans won’t read anything I post in “Twitterese.”)

7. Do use cross-posting to save time. Do not use it every time. (Example – Have a blog post with a great headline that really caters to a wide audience? Have a question and not sure which of your audiences might be best suited to help? Crunched for time and want to get the word out fast? In these situations [and many others], cross-posting makes sense. You’ll rarely offend anyone with the occasional cross-post, and if well-written, you may get the most bang for your 2-minute buck.)

It’s easy to post the same message everywhere. And yes, I’ll admit it … I am guilty of posting the exact same message on multiple networks only minutes apart. But there is a little pang of guilt with every ‘submit’ or ‘post’ button I click, because I know the differences in my audiences, and I know which posts are going to get the most traction on which networks.

In social media marketing, we often choose quantity over quality – “Get the message out to as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time,” instead of “How will my fans on this specific network benefit from seeing/reading this right now?”

The truth is that it is the quantity of quality that matters. You want your news and your promotions and your ideas read/shared/acted upon, and that often means varying your messages based on the specific network you are using. Even if it takes more time, or doesn’t reach everyone. Targeted messages based on fan data will almost always serve you better in the long run than cross-posting your entire campaign.

About The Author:

Melissa Reyes is a mom,  Twitter addict, full-time social media manager and the owner of Social Amateur, a consulting company focused on helping small businesses navigate the world of social media marketing. You can find her on LinkedInTwitter andFacebook.

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How To Create A Social Media Plan That Will Stick

I was talking with a friend the other day, trying to explain what I did. I told her that as a social media strategist, I create and implement a social media plan that a business can use to increase their online visibility and, therefore, increase their offline business.  She asked if I had a template that I follow when creating a social media plan. I told her that while every company is different, I do tend to follow some general guidelines when beginning with work with any business.  Her next question was how do you know it will work?  A good question.  How do I know that a social media plan created for a business will work?  In my experience, the best-laid plans follow some common guidelines but allow room for flexibility and change.  I explained to my friend that creating a social media strategy that will stick  starts with a conversation, and while each conversation is different, it usually follows these 7 steps:

  • Determine your goals for starting a social media plan: Every business has different reasons for wanting to start using social media. In order to create and effective strategy that will stick, you need to sit down and determine the who, what, why, where, when and how of what you see as your goals.
  • Who is the demographic: Using a tool like the Forrester Social Technographics ladder, it is critical to determine how your audience is using social media. What platforms they are on, are they the creators, users, participants or observers.  This will help dictate which tool and which medium, such as video, chat rooms, or microblogging, would be appropriate to use.
  • Get the word out: Through family, friends, colleagues, co-workers. Any way you can. Use online tools such as PitchEngine to help take your press releases online and allow people to share your releases through social networking.
  • Spend time building relationships online: Even before you set up your business on the different social platforms, you need to spend time – lots of time – building relationships. Once you have chosen the platforms your business will be focusing on, you need to strengthen the relationship with your Fans, Followers, Circles and Connections.  It is through your relationships that the word-of-mouth about your company will spread. In any strategy, it is critical to be present, be consistent and be engaged.
  • Create Quality Content: Creating great content is the most important part of any social media plan. Success in social media comes from creating online conversations about your business, your brand, your products and promotions. By offering quality content, it allows your audience to connect with you, it allows them to see you and your Brand as human.
  • Set up your profiles: After establishing where your audience is online, you can decide which tools to use.  In setting up these social platforms for your business, you need to fill out profile in their entirety, including pictures. There’s nothing worse than being followed on Twitter by an egg with no bio.
  • Track your results: Once you have a plan in place, it is important that evaluate the impact of your social media efforts.  The success or failure of your strategy is determined by many factors and is directly linked to your company’s social media goals.  The beauty of social media lies in its variability. Social media is changing all the time and therefore, it is critical to continuously monitor and grow what is working and change what isn’t.

As a social media strategist, the advice I give businesses when they are starting to create a social media strategy is to listen. Listen to what your audience is saying and where they are saying it.  I encourage them to remember that social platforms are but one small piece of the puzzle.  Building real, honest and true relationships and providing good, quality content are the crux of any marketing strategy and this should be the focus of any social media plan.  Blogging, commenting, liking, following, circling and engaging with others will go much farther than if you simply create a profile on a social platform and hope that others come to you.  In my experience, if you follow these steps to find out the who, what, where, when and how of your audience, you will be well on your way to creating a social media plan that will stick.

Why You Need To Get Over Yourself And Blog

I had a meeting with a new prospective client yesterday. His goals were to try to get up to speed with the new technology that is available to him online and how to maximize his usage of these tools to increase his business.  As part of our conversation, I brought up the idea of starting a business blog.  I could see the fear in his eyes – it’s the same with all non-bloggers when you bring up the idea of blogging.  I think the fears are pretty common:

  • Fear that you won’t have the time
  • Fear of not knowing where to begin
  • Fear of not knowing what to blog about
  • Fear of negative comments and criticism
  • Fear of looking and feeling stupid
  • Fear of no one reading your blog

While these fears are real and valid, the reasons FOR blogging are overwhelming.  According to Hubspot, businesses that blog increase their site visits by as much as 55%.  As well, a blog can increase your SEO, which will help you to be found in a search, engage new customers, highlight your expertise, encourage conversions and increase your revenue. Phew. That was a mouthful.

When I started to explain to my client the benefits of blogging, he kept coming back to one point.  How will I have time to do all the research needed to write blogs?  It was then that I realized his true fear and how this particular fear was unfounded if he remembered this: Blogging is not journalism or science. Blogs are not the boring research articles our forefathers wrote. In the B2C world, customers reading blogs today don’t care (much) about statistics, research and data.

Blogs started as online diaries but they soon grew to become as a part of our lexicon as online and e-mail.  This unique form of social media represents an increasingly important information source in this web-centric world and can be a very valuable marketing tool.  When beginning a business blog, it’s critical to remember that your audience is your perspective customer or client. Write posts at a level they understand, on topics they want to read about. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes, answer questions, read other blogs in your industry and speak to your audience, not at them.

A business blog doesn’t need to be long, most people value quality over quantity. They don’t need to include lists of statistics (that they likely won’t read, anyway). They just need to be written in an honest and open voice that will increase your visibility and establish your credibility. It’s perhaps the best marketing tool out there right now.

When you let your fears of business blogging consume you, you are missing out on the opportunity to engage with your audience, share information about your products, improve customer relations and you are leaving the window open or your competitors. So put your fears away and let your blogging voice shine. There are people waiting to hear what you have to say. Now go… get over yourself and blog!